2:00PM Water Cooler 4/6/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day

This is California Quail week at Naked Capitalism. Grab another cup of coffee, because here we have six minutes of quail goodness.

* * *


“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51

“They had learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.” –Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord

“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” –Hunter Thompson

Capitol Seizure

The story so nice they printed it twice:

(I like @nyttypos a lot; subscribe if you want to watch the Times deteriorate,)

Biden Adminstration

“EXCLUSIVE: Whistleblower who handed Hunter’s abandoned laptop to congressmen and DailyMail.com has fled to Switzerland fearing retaliation from Biden Administration – and reveals he has 450 gigabytes of DELETED material including 80,000 images and videos” [Daily Mail]. Hoo boy. “The source who distributed Hunter Biden’s laptop to congressmen and media has fled the US to Switzerland, saying he fears retaliation from the Biden administration. Jack Maxey gave DailyMail.com a copy of the hard drive from Hunter’s abandoned laptop in the spring of 2021.” Well, I guess my question about how the Daily Mail did its forensics is answered. More: “For the past two weeks, Maxey has been in hiding in Zurich, working with IT experts to dig out more data from the ‘laptop from hell’. Maxey, a former co-host of ex-Donald Trump advisor Steve Bannon’s podcast the War Room, claims he and his colleagues have found ‘450 gigabytes of deleted material’ including 80,000 images and videos and more than 120,000 archived emails. He said he intends to post them all online in a searchable database in the coming weeks.” • Note, however, that this is not the repair guy in whose shop Hunter Biden — dear Hunter! — abandoned the laptop. So I’m not clear on the provenance of any of this. From the Mail: “Hunter abandoned his laptop at a Delaware computer store in 2019. The owner, John Mac Isaac, gave a copy to Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who passed it on to Maxey.” So Isaac to Giuliiani to Maxey… Not the cleanest chain of custody.

“GOP laying early plans for its own Hunter Biden probes” [Politico]. “Democrats are preemptively smacking down the Republican revival of Hunter Biden’s affairs. In private, they tend to seethe at what they see as GOP hypocrisy for trying to weaponize Biden’s son when Trump repeatedly blurred lines between his business, family members and the government he ran for four years.” • I don’t think that argument is as powerful as Democrats seem to think it is. The mind reels at the thought of Harris in the Oval Office…. What on earth was California’s oligarchy thinking?

“This Hunter Biden deal in a foreign country really does look bad” [MSNBC (!)]. “Hunter Biden’s contract with CEFC is questionable not only because of the large sums involved in return for services that he appears ill-suited to provide, but also because of the characters it brought him in contact with. Citing what it calls “verified emails from a purported copy of the laptop hard drive reviewed by the outside experts for The Post,” the newspaper determined that in 2015, while his father was vice president, Hunter Biden was contacted by an intermediary looking to arrange a meeting between him and Ye Jianming, the chairman of CEFC. Ye had been the deputy secretary of the China Association for International Friendly Contact, which a 2011 U.S. congressional report called “a front” for the People’s Liberation Army. CEFC may claim it’s a “private” company, but when it comes to major Chinese entities, there’s no such thing as private and no way to politely decline the strong arm of the Chinese intelligence services.” • So, how many copies of Hunter’s laptop data are running around, anyhow?

“Kyle Rittenhouse Weighs In on Hunter Biden for the First Time” [Newsweek]. • Don’t do this, Kyle.

“Democrats’ dilemma: Back Biden’s Pentagon budget or supersize it” [Politico]. “Debate is heating up on Capitol Hill on funding the military, and Democrats are facing a dilemma — back President Joe Biden’s historically high Pentagon budget or spend even more. It’s a major turnaround for a party that just two years ago was expected to restrain defense spending after budgets soared during the Trump years. Yet the new reality, spurred on by high inflation and a raging land war in Europe, means that Democrats for the second year in a row are looking at rebuffing their own president and adding tens of billions of dollars to the Defense Department’s budget that the agency didn’t ask for.” • We have already quoted Churchill: “The Admiralty had demanded six ships; the economists offered four; and we finally compromised on eight.” There should really be something in Parkinson’s Law on this.

Democrats en Déshabillé

I have moved my standing remarks on the Democrat Party (“the Democrat Party is a rotting corpse that can’t bury itself”) to a separate, back-dated post, to which I will periodically add material, summarizing the addition here in a “live” Water Cooler. (Hopefully, some Bourdieu.) It turns out that defining the Democrat Party is, in fact, a hard problem. I do think the paragraph that follows is on point all the way back to 2016, if not before:

The Democrat Party is the political expression of the class power of PMC, their base (lucidly explained by Thomas Frank in Listen, Liberal!). It follows that the Democrat Party is as “unreformable” as the PMC is unreformable; if the Democrat Party did not exist, the PMC would have to invent it. If the Democrat Party fails to govern, that’s because the PMC lacks the capability to govern. (“PMC” modulo “class expatriates,” of course.) Second, all the working parts of the Party reinforce each other. Leave aside characterizing the relationships between elements of the Party (ka-ching, but not entirely) those elements comprise a network — a Flex Net? An iron octagon? — of funders, vendors, apparatchiks, electeds, NGOs, and miscellaneous mercenaries, with assets in the press and the intelligence community.

Note, of course, that the class power of the PMC both expresses and is limited by other classes; oligarchs and American gentry (see ‘industrial model’ of Ferguson, Jorgensen, and Jie) and the working class spring to mind. Suck up, kick down.

* * *

Pelosi (1), yesterday:

Pelosi (2), today:

Translation: “That is why Democrats did not deliver the Richard L. Trumka PRO Act.” I mean, where they wearing kente cloth again?

“59 members of Congress have violated a law designed to stop insider trading and prevent conflicts-of-interest” [Business Insider]. “Congress passed the law a decade ago to combat insider trading and conflicts of interest among their own members and force lawmakers to be more transparent about their personal financial dealings. A key provision of the law mandates that lawmakers publicly — and quickly — disclose any stock trade made by themselves, a spouse, or a dependent child. But many members of Congress have not fully complied with the law. They offer excuses including ignorance of the law, clerical errors, and mistakes by an accountant.” • Because of course they do. In alpha order by last name, here they are:

Rep. Cindy Axne, a Democrat from Iowa

Rep. Cheri Bustos, a Democrat from Illinois

Rep. Kathy Castor, a Democrat of Florida

Rep. Katherine Clark, a Democrat from Massachusetts

Rep. Dwight Evans, a Democrat from Pennsylvania

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California

Rep. Brian Higgins, a Democrat from New York

Sen. Mark Kelly, a Democrat from Arizona

Rep. Susie Lee, a Democrat of Nevada

Rep. Alan Lowenthal, a Democrat from California

Rep. Tom Malinowski, a Democrat from New Jersey

Rep. Kathy Manning, a Democrat from North Carolina

Rep. Bill Pascrell, a Democrat of New Jersey

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, a Democrat from New York

Rep. Ed Perlmutter, a Democrat from Colorado

Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Democrat from Maryland

Del. Michael San Nicolas, a Democrat from Guam

Rep. Brad Schneider, a Democrat from Illinois

Rep. Kurt Schrader, a Democrat from Oregon

Rep. Kim Schrier, a Democrat from Washington

Rep. Bobby Scott, a Democrat from Virginia

Rep. Mikie Sherrill, a Democrat from New Jersey

Rep. Tom Suozzi, a Democrat from New York

Rep. Lori Trahan, a Democrat from Massachusetts

Rep. David Trone, a Democrat of Maryland

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Democrat from Florida

Rep. Peter Welch, a Democrat from Vermont

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat from Rhode Island

Now, the Republicans:

Rep. Rick Allen, a Republican from Georgia

Rep. Jim Banks, a Republican from Indiana

Rep. Mo Brooks, a Republican from Alabama

Rep. Michael Burgess, a Republican from Texas

Rep. Steve Chabot, a Republican from Ohio

Rep. Dan Crenshaw, a Republican from Texas

Rep. Warren Davidson, a Republican from Ohio

Rep. Pat Fallon, a Republican from Texas

Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, a Republican from Tennessee

Rep. Mike Garcia, a Republican from California

Rep. Lance Gooden, a Republican from Texas

Rep. Michael Guest, a Republican from Mississippi

Rep. Jim Hagedorn, a Republican from Minnesota

Rep. Diana Harshbarger, a Republican from Tennessee

Rep. Kevin Hern, a Republican from Oklahoma

Rep. Chris Jacobs, a Republican from New York

Rep. Mike Kelly, a Republican from Pennsylvania

Rep. Mike Kelly, a Republican from Pennsylvania

Sen. Cynthia Lummis, a Republican from Wyoming

Sen. Roger Marshall, a Republican from Kansas

Rep. Brian Mast, a Republican from Florida

Rep. Dan Meuser, a Republican from Pennsylvania

Rep. Dan Meuser, a Republican from Pennsylvania

Rep. Blake Moore, a Republican from Utah

Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky

Rep. August Pfluger, a Republican from Texas

Rep. August Pfluger, a Republican from Texas

Rep. John Rutherford, a Republican from Florida

Rep. Austin Scott, a Republican from Georgia

Rep. Pete Sessions, a Republican from Texas

Rep. Victoria Spartz, a Republican from Indiana

Sen. Tommy Tuberville, a Republican from Alabama

Rep. Roger Williams, a Republican from Texas

Rep. Rob Wittman, a Republican from Virginia

It’s bipartisan!

“Garcetti’s Handling of LA Harassment Imperils His Job as India Envoy” [Bloomberg]. “President Joe Biden’s nomination of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti as ambassador to India is in peril with some Democrats as well as Republicans raising questions about his handling of a sexual harassment case in his office…. Meanwhile, several Democrats, including Senators Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Mark Kelly of Arizona, are expressing reservations. Their support would be key for Garcetti’s confirmation in the 50-50 Senate if Republicans oppose him. Kelly said Tuesday he’s ‘got some issues’ with Garcetti’s nomination, including but not limited to the mayor’s handling of claims against a top aide who was accused of sexually harassing a Los Angeles police officer on the mayor’s security detail…. The White House has continued to stand by the nomination of Garcetti, 51, who served as co-chair of Biden’s presidential campaign.” • Oof. Sexually harassing a cop?


Readers, this is a bit scattered; I will have to read the Durham filing to get the timeline staight in my mind. Sorry! –lambert

“Durham releases former Clinton lawyer Michael Sussmann’s text message, says he put ‘lie in writing'” [FOX]. “Special Counsel John Durham, in a filing late Monday, released what may prove to be a crucial piece of evidence in the case against former Clinton lawyer Michael Sussmann—a text message he sent to the former FBI general counsel the eve of their September 2016 meeting stating ‘the same lie in writing’ that the information he would share would be ‘not on behalf of a client or company.’ In a filing late Monday, Durham motioned to admit evidence for the Sussmann trial—including a text message Sussmann sent to then-FBI General Counsel James Baker. Durham contends that Sussmann was, in fact, working for the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign at the time of the meeting…. ”The defendant’s billing records reflect that the defendant repeatedly billed the Clinton Campaign for his work on the Russian Bank-1 allegations,’ Durham wrote. ‘In compiling and disseminating these allegations, the defendant and Tech Executive-1 also had met and communicated with another law partner at Law Firm-1 who was then serving as General Counsel to the Clinton Campaign (‘Campaign Lawyer-1′).’ Sources familiar have told Fox News that ‘Campaign Lawyer-1’ is a reference to Marc Elias.” • Does make you wonder on what Clinton was basing tweets like this, which looks a lot like the Joffe information Sussman was peddling:

Yes, oppo is legal, but it’s not at all clear you get to plant oppo with the FBI while telling them its out of the goodness of your heart, while at the same time you’re billing for it at Perkins Coie (and mislabeling it as “legal advice and services“). This is from last week, but it’s important–

“Fight with Clinton campaign and DNC looms in Sussmann case” [Politico]. “Prosecutors on special counsel John Durham’s team handling a criminal false-statement case against a top lawyer for Democratic causes, Michael Sussmann, indicated on Thursday that they planned to challenge claims of attorney-client privilege raised by the Democratic National Committee and Clinton’s campaign. The issue has lingered for years, with the Democratic groups claiming that the investigative firm that produced the dossier, Fusion GPS, did so as part of attorney-requested research related to potential litigation. ‘We have had conversations and have been unable to get comfort as to the grounding and basis of various privilege theories,’ Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew DeFilippis told the judge. ‘These issues are unavoidable and we’ve been working for quite some time to get to the bottom of them.'” • Democrat oppo and operations generally have been a rat’s nest of cut-outs and straws for as long as I can remember (and highly profitable for all the lawyers and operatives taking their cuts). It would be great if Durham shed some light on that system. I suppose if oppo is done by a lawyer, and oppo also has privilege, we’ve basically licensed the intelligence community to do anything and everything they do not already do, domestically. They would just need the right credentials.

“Beware the Eephus: Durham Lowers the Boom on Former Clinton Counsel Michael Sussmann” [Jonathan Turley]. “Notably, the filings state that ‘The defendant’s billing records reflect that the defendant repeatedly billed the Clinton Campaign for his work on the Russian Bank-1 allegations. In compiling and disseminating these allegations, the defendant and Tech Executive-1 also had met and communicated with another law partner at Law Firm-1 who was then serving as General Counsel to the Clinton Campaign (‘Campaign Lawyer-1′).’ ‘Campaign Lawyer-1’ is a reference to Marc Elias, Sussmann’s partner at Perkins Coie who is accused to concealing the same connections with the Steele Dossier during the campaign.” • Elias is also an election lawyer for the Democrats, which I suppose tells you everything you need to know about their efforts in that direction.

2020 Post Mortem

“Trump asks judge to recuse from racketeering suit against Hillary Clinton” [Politico]. “Trump lawyers Alina Habba and Peter Ticktin contend that Middlebrooks could be seen as biased because Bill Clinton chose him for the federal court bench in 1997. ‘There is no question that Judge’s [sic] Middlebrooks’ impartiality would be questioned by a disinterested observer, fully informed of the facts, due to Judge’s relationship with the Defendant, either, individually, or by the very nature of his appointment to the Federal Bench, by the Defendant’s husband,’ Habba and Ticktin wrote in a motion filed on Monday. ‘The most important issue is not simply that justice must be done, but also that justice must appear to be done. This could not be more important in a case like the above styled cause, where wrongs in regard to a presidential election are to be redressed.’ Motions to recuse based on the identity or party of the president who appointed a judge are rarely granted. In a largely two-party system, federal judges are virtually certain to have been appointed by the political rivals of a president or his political allies. The motion filed on Monday does not indicate whether Trump would seek recusal of a Trump-appointed judge from the case.”

Realignment and Legitimacy

Propaganda works:

Tracey, sadly, is right.

That General’s chest is decorated to a North Korean level:

And not a single one of them is from winning a war, or could be!

“‘F*ck Leftist Westsplaining!'” [The Nation]. “The Central and East European left’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine comes from people with diverse experiences and backgrounds. However, all of the writers offered examples of the Western left’s denial of East European agency (for example, suggesting that Ukraine must be a ‘buffer zone’). Many noted the Western left’s fixation on Ukraine’s far right; the far right is indeed a problem, but has less political power in Ukraine than in many other countries in Europe, they point out. No one accepted the assertion that Russia viewed ‘NATO encroachment’ as a security threat (though Artiukh noted Russia does perceive NATO as a political and cultural threat). Many in the East European left have felt obliged to point out that ‘NATO expansion’ only comes about when each country decides to apply for membership. And they emphasize that decision belongs to the citizens of those countries—not to former colonial powers.” • I’m not sure about this “Westsplaining” thing, since most of the tools used here fit comfortably in the Western woke discourse, including agency, and the replacement of realism with moralizing.


If you missed it, here last week’s post on my queasiiness with CDC numbers, especially case count, which I (still) consider most important, despite what Walensky’s psychos at CDC who invented “community levels” think. But these are the numbers we have.

A must-read thread:

* * *

Case count by United States regions:

In the aggregate, cases are down. However, cases in the Northeast are up (reinforced by wastewater rapid riser, and now hospitalization data (albeit from a low baseline).

“‘Stealth’ Omicron Is Stealthy No More: What’s Known About the BA.2 Variant” [New York Times]. From March 18: “As the United States drops many of its own protection measures, BA.2 may be able to spread more easily from person to person. But there are a number of reasons to doubt that it will drive a large new spike of cases and hospitalizations.” Quoting the subheads: “Existing vaccines work against the BA.2 variant…. The BA.2 variant is vulnerable to antibodies made by the immune system after an earlier Omicron infection… BA.2 does not appear to be more severe than the previous version of Omicron…. Some authorized medications work against BA.2. Others don’t…. BA.2’s ‘stealth variant’ nickname is outdated….” • We shall see.

NOTE I shall most certainly not be using the CDC’s new “Community Level” metric. Because CDC has combined a leading indicator (cases) with a lagging one (hospitalization) their new metric is a poor warning sign of a surge, and a poor way to assess personal risk. In addition, Covid is a disease you don’t want to get. Even if you are not hospitalized, you can suffer from Long Covid, vascular issues, and neurological issues. For these reasons, case counts — known to be underestimated, due to home test kits — deserve to stand alone as a number to be tracked, no matter how much the political operatives in CDC leadership would like to obfuscate it.

MWRA (Boston-area) wastewater detection:

Still going up, both in the aggregate and in the North and South Systems. Too soon for a Fauci line? I’d give it a week.

The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) service area includes 43 municipalities in and around Boston, including not only multiple school systems but several large universities. Since Boston is so very education-heavy, then, I think it could be a good leading indicator for Covid spread in schools generally.

From CDC Community Profile Reports (PDFs), “Rapid Riser” counties:

Every so often I think of doing away with this chart, and then there’s another flare-up. Hello, Santa Barbara County in California! I remember using the metaphor of flying coals in a forest fire — many land, but sputter out; a few catch, and the first spreads. What I notice about this round of flare-up is that the “coals” are the size of multiple counties, not, as previously, single ones. FWIW! (Remember that these are rapid riser counties. A county that moves from red to green is not covid-free; the case count just isnt, well, rising rapidly.)

The previous release:

Here is CDC’s interactive map by county set to community transmission. This is the map CDC wants only hospitals to look at, not you:

Continuing slow improvement as the map shifts from mostly red to mostly yellow (assuming the numbers aren’t jiggered). However, look at the Northeast, which remains stubbornly red.

Hospitalization (CDC Community Profile):

Again, I don’t like the sudden effloresence of yellow and orange. I don’t care that the baseline is low. From the point of view of our hospital-centric health care system, green everywhere means the emergency is over (and to be fair, this is reinforced by case count and wastewater). However, community transmission is still pervasive, which means that long Covid, plus continuing vascular damage, are not over. (Note trend, whether up or down, is marked by the arrow, at top. Admissions are presented in the graph, at the bottom. So it’s possible to have an upward trend, but from a very low baseline.)

Just a reminder:

As with everything else, because the United States is not a serious country, our hospitalization data is bad. Here the baseilne is off:

Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,009,390 1,008,679. We did it. Break out the Victory Gin. An unfortunate upward blip. I have added an anti-triumphalist Fauci Line. Even if the numbers are going down, they’re still democidally high.

Covid cases in top us travel destinations (Statista):

Stats Watch

There are no official statistics of note today.

* * *

The Bezzle: “Is Crypto Re-Creating the 2008 Financial Crisis?” [The Atlantic]. “[W]ith credit default swaps, the parallel is leverage. CDSs created a new, initially unlimited way to create leverage, which is another way of saying they used debt to acquire financial assets. In DeFi, you see similar dynamics, especially that tokens can be created out of thin air. Those tokens could then be used as collateral for loans that can then be used to acquire yet more assets. It’s somewhat striking, the parallel.” • Important!

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 48 Neutral (previous close: 51 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 53 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Apr 6 at 1:26pm.

Class Warfare

“LEAKED: NEW AMAZON WORKER CHAT APP WOULD BAN WORDS LIKE “UNION,” “RESTROOMS,” “PAY RAISE,” AND “PLANTATION”” [The Intercept]. “AMAZON WILL BLOCK and flag employee posts on a planned internal messaging app that contain keywords pertaining to labor unions, according to internal company documents reviewed by The Intercept. An automatic word monitor would also block a variety of terms that could represent potential critiques of Amazon’s working conditions… ‘Our teams are always thinking about new ways to help employees engage with each other,’ said Amazon spokesperson Barbara M. Agrait. ‘This particular program has not been approved yet and may change significantly or even never launch at all.'” • Such a great quote from the Amazon spokeshole. Commentary:

News of the Wired

Crows do object permanance, apparently. For other living, growing things:

Another fave account of mine….

* * *

Contact information for plants: Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, to (a) find out how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal and (b) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Via AM:

AM writes: “The Jardin du Luxembourg on February 9, 2022. Winter is milder in Paris than in New England and it stays light about an hour longer. There were quite a few people there having lunch but they are outside the frame.”

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Wukchumni

    “Kyle Rittenhouse Weighs In on Hunter Biden for the First Time” [Newsweek].
    Spotted a supporter in the CVBB wearing a t-shirt with alternating black, white & red stripes.

    The caption written about mid upper left arm sleeve proclaimed:

    ‘Seek Kyle!’

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Just for perspective, here is the sum total of the headlined “weigh in,” which surely must be the textbook definition of shameless, self-serving clickbait:

      “Let me get this straight, Joe Biden can turn a blind eye to the misconduct of his own son, but defames me for defending myself?” Rittenhouse tweeted on Tuesday.

      “The more I read, the more I shake my head.”

      Rittenhouse should copywrite his own name so he can get paid anytime some schlock internet site uses it to attract eyeballs and sell ads.

    1. Watt4Bob


      From your link, and in a nutshell;

      The problem for Biden and the democrats is that the entire political system is in disrepute.

      Or, the dogs won’t eat the dog food.

      Which ever you prefer.

    2. Pat

      OMG, that picture. I have no words for how phony and yes stupid they all look.

      That everything the article posits is largely true, is just icing after that. ( I am still gobsmacked that there are probably 20 to 25% of self identified Democrats who still believe and buy these meaningless celebrations of failed policies, well failed for the public Insurance companies have reaped obscene profits.)

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > OMG, that picture. I have no words for how phony and yes stupid they all look.

        They’re smiling, aren’t they? Obama and Biden.

        As for Harris, holy moley. If that were a pr0n shoot, I’d know what she was looking at.

        1. Kevin Hall

          With all this talk about the psychology of smiling, has anyone brought up the old Smiling Faces Sometimes? Great tune but especially go back and revisit the lyrics – The Undisputed Truth had it nailed down way back in ’71.

          1. Robert Gray

            heh heh

            Ol’ Bill Shakespeare had it nailed down by 1601:

            ‘One may smile and smile and be a villain’.

            Hamlet, I. v.

          2. wilroncanada

            Thinking about smiling, and insincerity:
            I’m reminded of these four lines from “The Mary Ellen Carter”, by Stan Rogers.
            And you, to whom adversity has dealt the final blow
            With smiling bastards lying to you everywhere you go
            Turn to, and put out all your strength of arm and heart and brain
            And like the Mary Ellen Carter, rise again

  2. IM Doc

    With regard to the General Milley picture – and what he has on his coat on the left side.

    A literal array of badges the size of a pizza.

    And compare that to this gentleman – https://history.army.mil/brochures/ike/ike.htm – The hero of D Day and the eventual leader of the Free World. Just scroll down to the portrait and behold his badge presence.

    The signaling and narcissism has just become overwhelming and is just another symptom of the rot of our culture. Why do people feel the need to display and preen like this?

    It is not just the military.

    I have right now at this minute on my desk a letter about a student – signed in this manner –

    Joe Blow, RN, MSN, BSN, DNP, JD, MBA, FACN, MHCA

    To wit, I have dealt with many real attorneys in my life. Not once has their correspondence had JD on it.

    I wish I was kidding – but just look at any big hospital’s web site and their administrators. It is absolutely disgusting.

    And unfortunately, for old hands like me – these people are considered a moron until proven otherwise.

    1. herman_sampson

      Wouldn’t the DNP include all the “junior” nursing certifications? It’s like a physician signing as
      Joe Blow, BS, M.D.

      1. Pat

        My first thought on seeing that was the BS might not be taken as a certification but a description of the ability attached to MD. But maybe that is just me.

    2. Carolinian

      Just been reading new book about George V. Apparently he spent most of his life and kingship shooting small birds and dressing up in fancy costumes. His father Edward, the Tsar, the Kaiser were all hugely into uniforms. Clearly this is a symptom of late imperial decline!

      Americans used to make fun of this sort of thing and those WW2 generals–while not entirely immune to fashion–dressed down. But then maybe WW1 is the deja vu we are in.

      1. Tom Doak

        I went to a museum of history in Buenos Aires years ago, and almost all of the exhibits consisted of the uniforms and sidearms of various generals who had overthrown the country. (Plus some of Eva Peron’s dresses!)

    3. You're soaking in it!

      “Have mercy on our uniform,
      Man of peace or man of war
      The peacock spreads his fan”

    4. Katniss Everdeen

      And compare that to this gentleman…

      Whoever coined the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” was onto something.

      For visual learners, these two pics should be placed side by side in future math textbooks to illustrate the concept of inverse proportionality.

      (Also too, the concepts of military “readiness” and physical fitness.)

      1. scott s.

        It’s really just a visual CV. What’s really different today is that we have created a whole universe of “joint” positions, so one’s job history is measured by the parallel systems of service and joint experience.

    5. Mildred Montana

      @IM Doc

      The rot extends into corporations as well.

      Yours cordially,

      Mildred Montana, Acting Deputy Assistant Vice-President of Communications, Public Relations, and Investor Information, ABC Corporation.*

      *Thank gawd that’s just my job title, with very few actual responsibilities attached to it. /s

      “The art of genteel idleness has been brought to its highest level of sophistication in the upper reaches of the modern corporation.” —John Kenneth Galbraith

    6. rowlf

      My father’s comment on too much fruit salad (service ribbons): He looks like he puked on himself.

    7. Bart Hansen

      I still think Petraeus outdoes them all. We can’t see Millies right side, but that of Petraeus would do Jenifer of ‘Office Space’ proud in terms of ‘flair’. See his Wiki page.

    8. FreeMarketApologist

      Without detracting from the basic point IM Doc is making, there is a whole arcane world of protocols about what elements of the fruit salad are worn under what conditions. There are other pictures of Eisenhower wearing 3-4 rows of decorations. One of my relatives was Eisenhower’s contemporary (served directly under him as part of a long and important military career), and there is a bewildering combination of things worn in different outfits.

      I do see on Milley’s uniform several bits of decoration that my own father wore — they weren’t decorations for distinguished service, but indicated the areas in which he served: paratrooper, infantry, etc. Those do seem a bit over the top for the purposes of his particular appearance.

      1. Robert Gray

        > … there is a whole arcane world of protocols about what elements of the fruit salad
        > are worn under what conditions.

        Thank you, FMA. This is an important point of which the general public is naturally unaware.

        My favourite example of ridiculous ‘fruit salad’ is none other than Lynndie England, whose despicable tale is well enough known. At the time of her trial there was a photo of her coming out of court wearing service-dress uniform with full decorations. She had three proud rows of ribbons (for doing what?). It made me think of that iconic picture of Ike wearing one row.

    9. The Rev Kev

      There was one women in England that had the problem of a man who insisted on having included all of his letters of his titles in any correspondence and was offended if any were left out. Finally she wrote him a letter starting ‘Sir Joe Blow (A to Z – take your pick)’

      And should it be pointed out that medal rot has been going on for decades and that after the invasion of Grenada in ’83 for example, more medals were awarded than soldiers who invaded that island.

      1. Procopius

        Those are called “campaign ribbons.” There’s no actual medal that goes with them. A new one is declared every six to eight months, so if you serve for more than thirty years, as most generals do, you accumulate a lot of them. Mostly you don’t have to do anything or be stationed anywhere in particular, you just have to be on active duty during that time period.

        1. Yves Smith

          Oh, so these are fancy time cards! The Australians have slang for that, “bundying in”:

          to arrive or depart from work, esp when it involves registering the time of arrival or departure on a card

          Rev can correct me, but when I was there 20 years ago (:-( so long!) it had the connotation of going through the motions.

    10. wilroncanada

      Reminds me again of when I was a boy scout (age 122-18 at that time). We had in Canada about 50 total badges, in addition to second class, first class ( the nomenclature may not be accurate depending on my memory), and Queen’s Scout But the scouts from Michigan that we met when they occasionally roughed it at our camp, had seemingly an endless number, many of which were for things we had to do just to get our second class status. I think they had three times more badges. We laughed that they came in big buses, with tents into which cots were lined (no ground sleeping for them). Meals were prepared for them by cooks. They couldn’t swim in the creek, like us. They were less self-sufficient than my aunt’s cub pack of 8-11 year olds. One weekend we were hit by a microburst that blew down our old-style canvas tents. We righted our tents, hung up wet clothes, and carried on.
      They immediately packed and headed for home, not even bothering to volunteer to search with us for gear from the cub pack that had stuff, blown into trees or into the creek 200 metres away. We never did find all of it.

  3. Jason Boxman

    Heh, the anti-war liberal Democrats folded as soon as Obama was elected, in fact. Always looking forwards, not back! (To yet another huge wipeout of liberal Democrats in Congress yet again.)

  4. herman_sampson

    Another great thing about the Amazon chat app: employees would have to use it on their own time, as (last I know) cell phones are not allowed in the warehouse. My last job, in a warehouse (not Amazon, thank Athena) had an optional timekeeping app for smartphones. I used it a couple of times when I forgot to use the app on the employer’s computer, on the clock. If the employer supplies it, use it on their equipment, on their time.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      I get the outrage over this, but why in the world would any amazon employee even consider using a company “chat app” like this?

      It’s amazon fer chrissakes!

      1. jsn

        Could be wrong, by my understanding is they’re required to.

        I believe they have some “smart” device they use all day to communicate and be surveilled by the big blue phallus, a bar code scanner that tracks their actions.

        App would be used on that device. Happy to be corrected if I’m wrong.

      2. Michael Ismoe

        LOL. The Amazon app gives you more freedom of speech than Twitter does. Why are people using that app again?

  5. Screwball

    Twitter has suspended Scott Ritter.

    Also, Biden to name a Pelosi staffer to the SEC.

      1. Screwball

        So that means what he’s saying is right….

        That was my first thought as well. As far as Musk; wouldn’t it be a hoot to know the conversations going on behind his back? Hot potato? Maybe. We shall see.

        1. flora

          A bit of Ritter’s history as a 2002 weapons inspector in Iraq; this NYTimes Magazine article was written 10 years later – 2012 – about Ritter’s work to prevent a war that was started based on faulty intelligence.

          “History will record, though, that Ritter was right, while those who showed him nothing but contempt were flat wrong. While he wasn’t the only one saying that the war’s pretense was false or that its aftermath could be calamitous, Ritter was almost certainly the most determined dissenter and the one with the most on-the-ground intelligence.” – New York Times, Feb 22, 2012


    1. begob

      I did notice that Ritter retweeted without qualification someone’s description of Ukrainian soldiers as ‘nonhuman’ – I think that was the term used, and not something I would expect an impartial analyst to republish. Maybe I misread it.

  6. Acacia

    Scott Ritter has apparently been suspended or booted from Twitter. Will Elon intervene? (Not holding my breath)

  7. OIFVet

    Re: F*ck Leftist Westsplaining. This is like that quote, “they had learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.” The Eastern and Central Euros are hostages of the past and it colors the thinking of all of them, left, right and center, whatever these labels even mean locally these days. It all boils down to the past, or more to the point, the inability to get past it and look at things without that particular filter. I find myself marveling almost daily at the inability of people here to think realistically and objectively as soon as “Russia” gets mentioned. And the article offers clear example of this:

    “Given that the only combatants on the ground are Russian invaders and Ukrainian defenders, the implication that this is a battle between the U.S. and Russia over influence is ridiculous,” Jan Smoleński and Jan Dutkiewicz wrote in their essay about Western pundits who speak over voices from the East European left.

    Really?! No amount of ‘Eastsplaining’ can overcome the sheer ridiculousness of this statement. In the end, the East and Central European “left” is so blinded by the past that it not only fails to notice US neo-colonialism in the EU but de facto enables it further by refusing to even acknowledge that Ukraine is a battleground in which the US is waging a proxy war and that this proxy war was the US’ desired outcome. EU is now more captured than ever, and the safety the Eastern left seeks is further away than ever because of that.

    Frankly, some decades or centuries from joy, if the world is still inhabited by humans, historians will look back on the 30 years between 1992 and 2022 and will probably pinpoint the end of the great European project to Eastern European entry in the EU and NATO. We are the tail that wags these dogs, we are incapable of moving out of the past and going forward, and we are pathological addicted to hatreds. Left, right, center, it makes no difference at all, we are all the same when it comes to inability to get over ourselves.

    1. NN Cassandra

      I think the problem here is author of that article picked some random people sharing desirable views and called them left, while at best they seem to be of idpol/liberal left variety. There is plenty of people who can see it’s mostly game between the big guys.

    2. pjay

      Yes. We all know that residing in Eastern Europe, or being of East European descent, or being an East European “leftist” academic, makes one an unassailable expert on objective political reality.

      Thanks for the comment. There was so much that pissed me off in this article that I finally had to give up my attempt at a response. I knew some *real* East European leftists back in the 1980s who faced real risks for their writing and activism. Despite the potential rewards, most did not become lackeys for Western anti-Russian narratives after 1991. Probably not a great career move. But I am a mere “Westsplainer,” so what do I know.

      That this appeared in the Nation surprised me not at all.

    3. britzklieg

      The Nation has been milquetoast, at best, for a very long time but wokeness has put it into hibernation. It will occasionally stir from slumber and publish something interesting (Stephen Cohen (late husband of editor KVDH) and Aaron Mate) but I can’t remember the last time I used up my ” 3 free articles” per month allotment there.

      Phil Ochs got it right way back in 1966:

      Yes, I read New Republic and Nation
      I’ve learned to take every view
      You know, I’ve memorized Lerner and Golden
      I feel like I’m almost a Jew
      But when it comes to times like Korea
      There’s no one more red, white and blue
      So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal


      1. Bob Kavanagh

        At a 1970 Ochs concert at Carnegie Hall, he changed the lines to ‘But when it comes to sending arms to Israel, there’s no one more red, white and blue…’

      2. Late Introvert

        I was a regular reader of The Nation back in the 80s and 90s. It helped me learn that I didn’t care one whit about what some privileged cloistered Ivy League snots cared about. And not long after I realized that applied to all of the media on the liberal side, and most of the media on the Fox wing also.

        Funny story, when I canceled a recent subscription renewal after I had received some issues but had not yet paid for it, The Nation turned me over to a collections agency. I kid you not. For like $14.95. After being a regular subscriber for 10+ years! I offered to pay for the issues and they could shove the rest of it up their smiling smiles and they backed down.

        Believe them when they tell you who they are, I think I read that somewhere.

    4. VietnamVet

      The greatest contradiction today is that the 1970s PR that sold global capitalism with “I’d like to buy the world a Coke” has now morphed into a 2022 replay of the 1914 & 1939 ethnic Balkan conflicts that triggered World Wars I & II. The Generals with all the medals from lost wars want another forever war. But unless Ukraine is partitioned and ethnic cleansed on both sides of a DMZ to stop the shelling and future conflicts, the most likely outcome of the Ukraine Russia War is escalation into a nuclear holocaust.

    5. DJG, Reality Czar

      OIFVet: I note that the two authors of the article that you quote are Polish. My observation: What Polish left?

      As you say, politics in many of the Central and Eastern European country is reflexive and resentful. A couple of days back the Polish government blocked the minimum tax on corporations within the EU. The chair of the committee in the EU Parliament was furious and uncomprehending. Yet we see this resentful self-destruction in Poland and Hungary regularly.
      The flaw in the EU expanding was that the EU was not ready for countries like Poland and Romania that seem to have it as national policy to export a significant slice of the population. I note that in 1991 Lithuania had 3.5 million people. Population is now down to 2.75 million.

      I tried to read the article, but this statement blocked me: “Many noted the Western left’s fixation on Ukraine’s far right; the far right is indeed a problem, but has less political power in Ukraine than in many other countries in Europe, they point out. No one accepted the assertion that Russia viewed ‘NATO encroachment’ as a security threat”

      Oh? Ukraine, arguably the most corrupt country in Europe, has brigades of neoNazis within its armed forces that it is trying to explain away. I can’t think of a similar situation in any other European country. Further, understanding the situation in the Donbass means understanding that the Ukrainians have been shelling the Russian-speaking minority.

      Where else in Europe is a government shelling a region of a linguistic minority?

      And The Nation magazine wants to trot out some war-mongering “leftists”? Who don’t understand NATO as a security threat after the events of Serbia and Libya?

      Meanwhile, here in Italy, the correct-thinking journalists are criticizing the ANPI, the association of partisans from WWII, for the ANPI policy that war isn’t productive, that there must be negotiations, and that comparisons to Italy in WWII aren’t valid. So we are now seeing the Reign of Keyboard Partisan Second Guessers.

  8. super extra

    Jack Maxey gave DailyMail.com a copy of the hard drive from Hunter’s abandoned laptop in the spring of 2021.” … Maxey, a former co-host of ex-Donald Trump advisor Steve Bannon’s podcast the War Room, claims he and his colleagues have found ‘450 gigabytes of deleted material’ including 80,000 images and videos and more than 120,000 archived emails. He said he intends to post them all online in a searchable database in the coming weeks.”

    So the laptop image has been in the hands of Bannon’s people for a year and only now they’re building the searchable database for others to look at the dirt? This is really interesting timing given the reappearance of St. Obama and his icy behavior towards Biden. I guess protection has been revoked?

    Regarding chain of custody, I agree this wouldn’t hold up as digital forensics (maybe that is why everyone refused to take it before, plausible deniability). But it sure seems (based on the pics and video that were splashed around twitter last year and the year before) there was gigs of either flawlessly faked pics/video of Hunter cavorting with lots of sex workers or, you know, gigs of real pics/video of Hunter cavorting with sex workers. To get to that stuff one would just need to deploy the image to a vm and they could click around the hard drive to find whatever they wanted.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Hunter cavorting with sex workers

      In my view, in a political scandal involving sex workers, the sex workers are not only level-headed realists, they’re the only ones worth listening to. So we shall see!

      Interesting parallel that Cuomo was brought down with a #MeToo accusation, not for slaughtering elders in nursing homes. Hunter — and the big guy — might be brought down for Hunter’s “cavorting,” not for corruption, and especially not for any corruption involving [genuflects] Ukraine.

      1. super extra

        Hunter — and the big guy — might be brought down for Hunter’s “cavorting,” not for corruption, and especially not for any corruption involving [genuflects] Ukraine

        Yeah that’s the key (to everyone else in Congress involved with the corruption in Ukraine) – Biden has to go down in such a way that closes off for discussion what everyone else was getting up to there. In that respect, if Bannon has spent the last few years rebranding himself as not specifically Trump’s attack dog, but The Nation’s Attack Dog, then perhaps he’s been given clearance by a bipartisan group to proceed.

        ETA: re sex workers, one wonders how many of them have already been gotten to and made to sign a gag order in exchange for shush money…

        1. caucus99percenter

          Hey, I still remember the sudden, surprising “suicide” of the so-called “D.C. Madam.” So convenient for those who were afraid the contents of her little black book would see the light of day.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        Democrats cynically use a fake ID politics to drown out leftist critiques. Cuomo’s continued political life was an announcement everyone who called young women boy crazy for not worshipping Mother was full of it.

        Hunter shows Biden hypocrisy on drug laws, but im not sure it hurts anyone enough people in DC for anyone important to care.

    2. Acacia

      80,000 images and videos … all online in a searchable database in the coming weeks

      HunterHub.com? xHunter.com? HunterZilla.com? HunterTube… ?

      Expect popcorn supply chain issues.

    3. Tom Stone

      Obama announced that it was open season on the Biden Family at the ACA bash.
      Look at Harris’s smile,the last time I saw a woman having that many big O’s was the year I worked a booth at the National Sex Symposium.

  9. PressGaneyMustDie

    So, how many copies of Hunter’s laptop data are running around, anyhow? -Lambert

    The more unsavory chain of custody would that first copy given to the FBI. I bet that sucker has proliferated like herpes.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > The more unsavory chain of custody would that first copy given to the FBI. I bet that sucker has proliferated like herpes.

      Too bad we can’t get them all together and run diffs.

      1. hunkerdown

        We can compute hashes over the images. Hopefully, people have remembered to mount the images read-only for inspection.

  10. antidlc


    Multiple D.C. insiders test positive for COVID after annual Gridiron Dinner

    A Saturday dinner party featuring A-list attendees like infectious diseases expert Dr. Anthony Fauci and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) seems to have served up more than just a hot meal.

    A number of guests at this weekend’s annual Gridiron Dinner in Washington have since tested positive for COVID-19, meaning the small and elite bipartisan event — comprised of politicians, journalists, and public officials — might have an outbreak on its hands, The Washington Post reports Wednesday.

    As of Tuesday morning, attendees Reps. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Joaquin Castro (D-Tex.) had both tested positive, as had Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. A number of journalists and members of the White House and National Security Council staff also tested positive following the dinner, the Post writes.

    Merrick Garland reported to have COVID as well.

    Attendees included CDC Director, Amy Klobuchar, New York mayor Eric Adams.

    It was a “mostly-maskless dinner” and was “supposed to reflect a return to normalcy,”

    1. lambert strether

      “These other apartments were densely crowded, and in them beat feverishly the heart of life. And the revel went whirlingly on, until at length was sounded the twelfth hour upon the clock. And then the music ceased….”

        1. Guild Navigator

          The masque has been off for a long time for anyone with the temerity to stare upon the doings of the vile and heartless abyss otherwise known as Le Blob.

    2. Jason Boxman

      To my mind, this is continued good news insofar as these people truly have it coming to them, and for once, the bill actually has come due.

      So congrats to them all!

      1. Late Introvert

        It could not have happened to a nicer bunch of folks. Just getting that comment in the Library of Congress there.

    3. curlydan

      Made to order super-spreader event: “Guests sat together at ‘long narrow tables for hours, and watched satirical skits and songs performed by members.’ When the evening was over, attendees held hands to sing ‘Auld Lang Syne.'”

    4. Samuel Conner

      It will be interesting to see in future elections whether COVID-induced mental impairment weakens the advantage of incumbency.

      My guess is that it won’t.

    1. Samuel Conner

      Some of us have already been doing that for many years.

      It was, I think, either Jim Kunstler or John Greer who coined the aphorism “collapse early and beat the rush”

  11. mrsyk

    It feels like Uncle Joe is getting the heave-ho, and I’m wondering who’s behind it. I was standing in line, waiting to pay for my groceries earlier today. I noticed the cover story on the current issue of “Globe” gossip mag read “Michelle vs Hillary Brutal Brawl Explodes!” with the bullet points “Inside their dirty fight to be first female prez” and “Why Obamas and Clintons are hell-bent on revenge”. That the Clintons and Obamas might be behind some kind of power play won’t shock many, but separately? Pass the popcorn.

    1. orlbucfan

      Wow, they are both Right Wing, and so full of themselves with bliovating gas that someone ought to light a cosmik match under them. It might evaporate them.

    2. Acacia

      Tucker Carlson is on the case, from a funny “the adults are back in the room” montage, fast-fowarding to rather painful video of Biden wandering around lost and alone in the latest St. Obama love-fest at the WH. “They’ve decided to replace Joe Biden, period, but how will they do it and who will they replace him with?”

  12. marym

    Here are recent links discussing the Supreme Court’s use of the “shadow docket” to impose their will without having heard and ruled on the particular cases.

    04/06/2022 “Roberts Joins Liberals In Opinion Criticizing Conservative Majority’s Use Of Shadow Docket”
    04/03/2022 “The Supreme Court’s Abuses of the Shadow Docket Must Be Stopped”

  13. JBird4049

    >>>Any remaining vestige of an anti-war liberal/left in the US degraded itself almost to the point of non-existence from 2016-2020

    I have heard more anti-war talk from the American Conservative than from the New York Times or any other major news outlet. I really never thought I would see more such opposition to war from the right. Admittedly, the American Conservative was founded by exiles from the Republican Party, but still.

    1. caucus99percenter

      Practically the only anti-war media voice I’m seeing anywhere in Germany today is Jürgen Elsässer’s Compact magazine.


      Peace and diplomacy is far-right and crazy now?

      While hating Russia, canceling her culture, wanting her to starve, re-arming Germany to the tune of €100 billion, marching up to Russia’s borders, threatening to crush her and nuke her is mainstream and anti-Nazi?

      What’s wrong with this picture?

  14. Tom Stone

    Joe Biden is being removed because he blindsided everyone with the sanctions.
    You DO NOT blindside every important and self important person outside of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave without consequences.
    If the obscene corruption revealed in R.Hunter’s laptop wasn’t available it would be something else, perhaps “Heart Failure” or a “Stroke”.

    1. Late Introvert

      So Congress has no role here then? Asking seriously. I consider it a disaster too, the sanctions. Wondering why nobody has stepped up to challenge them. War fever is an amazing thing to witness from the outside looking in.

  15. IMOR

    re: Santa Barbara County covid case increase. This provides a partial explanation:
    So little testing is going on that when you factor in police from multiple jurisdictions (calling them in has been SOP there since the 1970s), the emt personnel, the arrestees if not all detainees, and possible visitors from an unacknowledged hotspot or two… well, whether testing was mandatory for some or all of these, and/or it just seemed like one of the better times to voluntarily test – you get your spike versus the artificially low baseline.
    Just a thought.

  16. TimmyB

    Oppo is legal. Lying to federal investigators, including the FBI, is a felony. That’s why a lie in writing to an FBI employee is damning.

  17. Michael Ismoe

    So much for using “Saving our Democracy” in the midterms:

    When it comes to the 2020 presidential election and former President Donald Trump’s efforts to change the results, 46 percent of Americans think Trump committed a crime, while 48 percent think he did not.

    Democrats think 87 – 10 percent that Trump committed a crime, while Republicans think 90 – 6 percent that he did not. Forty-six percent of independents think Trump committed a crime, while 47 percent think he did not.


    Liz Cheney must be wondering why she pissed away her political career.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      She overestimated her position. Mittens did it too. And standing with Team Blue is always a violation of GOP commandments. GOP leaders can get away with a great deal, but they can’t violate their commandments. Trump might have all kinds of baggage, but he never broke the GOP sacred precepts: kicking the poor, kicking non whites, annoying bleeding hearts, and calling for tax cuts.

      Jeb!, besides his low energy, took a hit when he didn’t try to kick migrant workers directly. The proposed 2006 immigration act still kicked immigrants but on the back end. And Jeb! wanted to pitch to Hispanic voters. He’s never been forgiven.

      1. Late Introvert

        Trump also delivered right wing judges. GOP Sacred Precept #1, along with the DemRat SP1 of rolling over.

      2. Solar Hero

        OK, the guy “kicking the poor” raised the standard IRS deduction to $12,000. The most any president in my life has done for the poor and working class. STFU.

  18. Tom Stone

    Jill Biden is not a stupid or a forgiving woman and she really likes the drapes she chose for the white house.
    She is perfectly aware that Obama delivered the kiss of death to Joe at the ACA bash and she already hates Harris for how she treated Joe during the debates.
    It will be interesting to see how sharp and pointy a knife she has and whether it is long enough to reach Harris’ vitals.

  19. The Rev Kev

    Sometimes you have to sit back and laugh at the little things in life. Such as ‘A new Viking epic starring Alexander Skarsgard and Nicole Kidman has been mocked after its poster was printed with a very unfortunate mistake.’ They forgot to put the title of the movie itself on the poster-


    1. Solar Hero

      And by the way, Anya Taylor Joy is absolutely repulsive. Cool though that Bjork got a gig.

  20. B1whois

    The mind reels at the thought of Harris in the Oval Office….

    I’m sorry but I don’t really understand what all the hate for Harris is about. Look at the presidents we had recently: Biden, Trump, and before the smooth talker Obama we had George W bush. We almost had Hillary!!
    I don’t see what makes Harris worse than these guys. Can somebody please clue me in as to what specifically it is about Harris that deserves all this rancer. Sure she’s stupid, sure she’s corrupt, but how does that make her any different? And all the puritanism about a woman who uses sex seems like over-the-top puritanism and really makes me wonder…. what makes people so intolerant of someone who seems no worse than all the others? Surely it isn’t just sexism

      1. JBird4049

        Then there is her refusal to prosecute Steve Mnuchin while prosecuting parents of truant children.

        So we have advocating for slavery, letting the very large amount of financial crime by a well connected individual go unpunished, and trying to send to jail the parents of children who refused to go to school. Her humor over the last is disgusting.

        Her career was created by Willie Brown. He has been a power broker in California for decades and considering the size of the state, and despite the state’s political power, its political power structure seems small. That makes it possible for the former lover of Harris to boost her into local and then statewide office. I have no idea as to what Brown exact role in Harris’ nomination for vp especially as he often acts very behind the scenes, but I would be surprised if he did not have any role in it. Unlike certain politicians, I have never heard of him being disloyal. A political genius, slick, corrupt, but despite his many political enemies, no suggestions of betrayal aside from loving the ladies a bit too much.

        Yes, this is just speculation by me, but between the patronage of Willie Brown with his many connections, and her habit of envying up and scorning down, I think I know how she got the nomination. She is an exemplar of a weaseling Democratic PMC player. She would have found the California elite easy to blend into and manipulate. Her being a woman and a minority just made selling her easy as intelligence, competence, or even being knowledgeable as opposed to going to the right university, would have been unnecessary. Her looks and political façade were also important, which also have appealed to my state’s elites.

        And this is how we got a shallow, incompetent woman a heartbeat away from the Oval Office.

    1. Solar Hero

      Biden, Trump, the Bushes didn’t sleep their way to the top. Accuse me of MISOGYNY but it’s TRUE!

    2. Yves Smith

      She did not just “use sex” Sex, as in being Willy Brown’s lover, was the SOLE REASON she got her first two political jobs. And she didn’t do a good job at either of them or her later ones.

      She pulled out of the presidential race in large measure because she was only polling at 2%. in her OWN STATE. They had her number. If Californians think so badly of her, why should we be more generous?

  21. VT Digger

    Absolutely not surprised to see Welch on the list of insider trading schmucks. He’s gunning for Leahy’s seat as we speak. Please fellow Vermonters, do not vote for this man. Can’t believe Sanders endorsed him for Senate, appalling. There was a nice social worker who was going to run but Bernie snubbed her. Shameful.

    The shakeup in VT is real right now with Leahy out. Team red is running a young lesbian attorney and team blue is running corrupt old white bread. Strange times.
    Vote for candidates not parties.

    Welch’s seat has a crowd running for it and two of them are not career politicians so here’s hoping. It’s pretty swampy though, Rahm-Hinsdale in particular is just odious. Took tons of dark money and has been in the statehouse literally since she was 22, never done an honest days work in her entire life.

    1. Late Introvert

      Here in IA it was no surprise to see Cindy Axne right at the top of the list. You don’t get invited unless you’re already in the clique.

  22. Samuel Conner

    A thought that has been percolating in my mind in recent weeks in contemplation of the incremental and small-scale gains in the Donbas that are reported daily in R-sympathetic news/opinion sites is that this resembles the “snail offensive” of Army Group Center in late Winter 1942. I read about this decades ago in Earl Ziemke’s multi-volume survey of the war in the East; I think it was in the volume titled “Moscow to Stalingrad: Decision in the East”. Perhaps the Rs have taken inspiration from their adversaries’ methods in that period.

    Here’s a web-visible description: see section 3. headed “snail offensive”


    The forces engaged are an order of magnitude, or more, smaller. I see no data on the size of engaged forces in the individual actions that are mentioned in the R-friendly sites, but they might be as small as individual companies. The casualties may be relatively small, too.

  23. Tom Stone

    I watched the various clips of the ACA bash again and they are astonishing.
    Joe Biden is both the sitting president and the host of this party and he is invisible to the other attendees while Obama and Harris are swarmed by courtiers like flies on shit.
    Jill must be incandescent with rage and Hunter’s lawyers will be having a “Come to Jesus” talk with their client.
    And I have no doubt that both the “Warrior Saint of Ukraine” and Vladimir Putin are paying very close attention to the situation.
    The Babylon Bee was a day early with their “Joe Biden does not speak for the President of the United States” headline.
    I hope Harris is conferring with Willie Brown.
    He is a vile and corrupt human being, but he is also a political genius.
    These are interesting times indeed.

    1. VietnamVet

      I never thought I’d be embarrassed for Joe Biden in the White House at his possible super spreader party. He is invisible to Insiders. He is toast. The USA does not have a President!

      Who is Barrack Obama going to anoint? Other than Michelle, there is nobody. CIA’s Mayo Pete is blander than Kamala Harris and he was missing in action during the California ports container crisis. Hillary Clinton, no way.

      If early reports from Sri Lanka and Peru are true; not just the current inflation, but the coming food and energy shortages are going to collapse the Western Empire. The ethnic conflicts here that are used divide and conquer inferiors (the 90%) have already reached a boiling point. Election politics and a clean sweep of Democrats may keep the lid on for a year or so, but unless there is a American People’s candidate, secession of the States is inevitable in the middle of this decade.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      That link doesn’t work for me, I think its this article? While pretty accurate, I think it soft balls the error and doesn’t lay the blame where it really matters. I think in future the failure to accept the overwhelming evidence of airborne transmission will be seen as one of the most catastrophic examples scientific failures in history and will be a textbook case in epistemological breakdown.

  24. Guild Navigator

    How’s about moving Joe left? How is that project going? He is pretty much everything I expected Secretary Clinton to be meaning bellicose as in taking us to the brink of nuclear war except that Joe’s more aggressive or forceful austerity/commons piggy bank-robbing take place behind the scenes, e.g., privatizing medicare, whereas Clinton would probably try to do messaging and sell privatizing Medicare to the public, and it would raise a stink. Not Joe. The poison dissolves without even a trace …

    And not that Joe is involved in any of these above-mentioned doings. Joe probably sundowns after watching 5 on 5 (whatever teh show is with Greg Gutfeld and Dana from the Bush admin) on Fox while eating his favorite $20/quart ice cream.

  25. LawnDart

    H.R.6869 – To authorize the President of the United States to issue letters of marque and reprisal for the purpose of seizing the assets of certain Russian citizens, and for other purposes.

    This bill authorizes the President to issue letters of marque and reprisal to privately armed individuals and entities to seize the assets of certain Russian citizens.

    Specifically, the holder of such a letter shall be authorized to employ all means reasonably necessary to seize any asset, such as a yacht or plane, outside of the United States that belongs to a Russian citizen on the Office of Foreign Asset Control’s List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons.


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